The Amazon Decision: What Does it Mean for Residential Real Estate in Arlington?

Recalling the various holiday parties I attended, it generally took about 5 minutes of conversation before someone asked, “What does the Amazon HQ2 move mean for real estate?” It is not surprising that people want to know how such significant news affects what is usually their biggest investment (their residence). The questions of when and if to buy or sell – in light of the Amazon announcement – have been at the forefront of people’s concerns. I have a few thoughts on the Amazon move: First, especially for a principal residence, our long-standing advice has not been altered by HQ2’s arrival: one’s priority should be the most desirable living situation for oneself and their family. While there theoretically may well be a means of leveraging Amazon’s arrival to your benefit, I don’t think it makes sense to disrupt one’s way-of-life when there are many unknowns.
What is known, however, are some illuminating numbers: the arrival of 25,000 new jobs will be gradual, occurring over a 12-year period. In the first year, only 400-500 jobs are anticipated. As George Mason University’s Steven S. Fuller Institute concluded in a Nov. 13, 2018 blog post, the housing impacts will be geographically dispersed and gradual, and only an estimated 14-16% of HQ2 workers are likely to live in Arlington. Those concerned about further school overcrowding might consider Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol’s view that she expects that Arlington will see just two to three additional students in each school per year, and that’s only when Amazon fully ramps up hiring in the coming years. “That’s not nothing,” Cristol said. “But when compared to the 500 students per year that APS is already adding, it’s really manageable.” (, Nov. 14, 2018).
In the end, though, it is hard to argue that Amazon’s arrival in Arlington will not be a good thing for property values in our neighborhood. Indeed, the Fuller Institute also concluded that “Home prices will likely continue to rise, but the Amazon-specific increase will be difficult to isolate.” It has long been understood that Arlington is a good place to own a home – in the past 20 years, the average sales price of an existing home in the County has increased by 215 percent. Amazon recognizes that Arlington is a great place to locate a business as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s